Tuks spoil UJ's party
Johannesburg - Speaking ahead of Monday's 2011 Varsity Cup semi-finals, FNB Tuks described their Last Four meeting with FNB UJ as a David v Goliath-type contest... Well, David - once again - felled Goliath as the fourth-placed Tuks beat the top-of-the-log UJ side by 25-11 on Monday.
As an added bonus, Tuks will now host the 2011 final on April 11 - due to UCT's lights not being fit to deal with a 7pm televised match - giving the Men from Pretoria yet another welcome shot in the arm.
That, of course, is if they even needed another confidence booster - their three-tries-to-one victory over UJ a well-deserved win, as they dominated the exchanges up front and turned that dominance into points when it mattered most.
Man of the Match Andries 'Boeboes' Coetzee was his team's undoubted hero, thanks to his try double, but captain Wesley Dunlop also deserves plenty of praise for his leadership and 15-point haul; his try, two conversions and two penalties helping to keep his team's noses in front when it mattered most.
The match started with some shuddering hits - mainly from Tuks players on UJ players! - but it was the home side who held their nerve to take the lead in the fifth minute through a well-taken Theuns Kotze drop-goal.
Dunlop had a shot at goal in the eighth minute, which he missed, but he made no mistake with his next effort - a conversion attempt from wide out after Coetzee opened his team's account with a try in the left-hand corner.
Coetzee profited from a superb over-the-top pass from outside centre Jean du Plessis, that after Tuks had kept the pressure on UJ for some time - the dam-wall eventually breaking thanks to Du Plessis's clever pass.
Kotze popped over a penalty a few minutes later to keep his team just one point adrift, but Tuks landed something of a hammer-blow right on half-time when captain Dunlop spun out of two tackles to dive over for Tuks' second try.
Dunlop hit the ball away in delight - before slotting the conversion - but he knew just how crucial that try was; Tuks' concerted pressure once again paying off, but the visitors going into lead by 14-6 at half-time.
The second half began with a Dunlop penalty - to put them ahead by 17-6 - but the home side showed terrific strength in character when lock Johan Snyman forced his way over for a try from close-range in the 48th minute.
UJ captain Justin Wheeler had turned down a kickable penalty and his gamble paid off when Snyman powered over. Kotze's conversion attempt hit the upright - leaving them 11-17 down - but they were back in the match with over half-an-hour of play left.
But powerful defence from Tuks never allowed the home side another serious crack at their line and when the visitors held onto the ball for another prolonged period, Coetzee took advantage of some missed tackles to squeeze in at the left-hand corner for what would be the match-deciding score.
Dunlop missed the conversion, but with his team leading by 22-11 going into the final quarter the home side had to score more than one converted try to make a game of it.
Kotze missed a penalty attempt in the 64th minute, before Dunlop officially put the game out of UJ's reach with his second penalty two minutes from full-time.
For FNB Tuks:
Tries: A Coetzee 2, Dunlop
Cons: Dunlop 2
Pens: Dunlop 2
UJ: 15 Theuns Kotze, 14 Aubrey McDonald, 13 Justin St. Jerry, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Lolo Waka, 10 André Smith, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Cameron Peverett, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Marnus van Huyssteen, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Alfred Ries, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Thurston Zimri, 17 Ollie Terblanche, 18 Shane Kirkwood, 19 Johan van Deventer, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Divan van Zyl, 22 Wigan Pekeur, 23 Anthony Gallacher.
Tuks: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Jean du Plessis, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Wesley Dunlop (captain), 9 Danie Faasen, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Nqubeko Zulu, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Chris Crous, 17 Jean Rossouw, 18 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 JC Roos, 22 GD Kotzee, 23 Corné Fourie.
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Gerrie de Bruin
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee